Ghassan Tueni: 1926-2012

Ghassan Tueni, a veteran Lebanese journalist, politician and diplomat who headed one of the Arab world’s leading newspapers, An-Nahar, for half a century, died Friday after a long illness, his family said. He was 86.

Tueni passed away at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, where he spent his last weeks.

A fierce defender of Lebanese sovereignty and freedom of the press, Tueni was often referred to as the “dean of Lebanese journalism.”

Born on January 5, 1926 to a Greek Orthodox Christian family, Tueni studied at the American University of Beirut and went on to earn a master’s degree in political science from Harvard University in 1947. He returned to Lebanon and took over the An-Nahar newspaper, founded by his father, serving as its editor-in-chief and publisher for decades.

Known for his keen intellect and ambitious nature, Tueni branched into politics and served several terms in parliament and as head of several ministries, including higher education and social affairs. He was Lebanon’s ambassador to the U.N. between 1977 and 1982 at the height of the Lebanese civil war and is remembered for having stood before the Security Council and delivering an impassioned plea: “Let my people live!”

Tueni was a bold and outspoken journalist whose editorials published on An-Nahar’s front page every Monday morning were awaited by many in Lebanon and across the Arab world and landed him in jail on several occasions.

On the personal level, Ghassan Tueni’s life was marked with tragedy. His wife Nadia, a poet, died young after a struggle with cancer, as did his daughter, Nayla, at the age of seven. His son Makram died in a car accident in his youth.

His other son, outspoken journalist Gebran Tueni, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005 while serving as An-Nahar’s editor in chief.

At his son’s funeral, Tueni stood at the altar and pleaded, “Let us bury hatred and revenge along with Gebran.”

Shortly after the bombing, Tueni ran for his son’s seat in parliament and won uncontested. In 2008, following clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian factions, Tueni was among politicians who signed the Doha Agreement that ended Lebanon’s worst fighting since the civil war.

Tueni is survived by his wife, Shadia el-Khazen, and four granddaughters. His funeral will be held Saturday in Beirut.

By Zeina Karam, AP

  • Fauzia45

    He was a great man who will be remembered by all!At his son s funeral he also said,¨¨…I call on all Lebanese ,Muslims and Christians ,to unite in the service of great Lebanon and its Arab cause.¨¨

  • Fauzia45

    He was a great man who will be remembered by all!At his son s funeral he also said,¨¨…I call on all Lebanese ,Muslims and Christians ,to unite in the service of great Lebanon and its Arab cause.¨¨

  • guss043

    What I can say, there is Annhar and there is all others …,there is a standard and principles and there is  what can be bought …. it is a loss for sure for a country like Lebanon, who’s very poor in producing leaders with calibers !!!!! God rest his soul ,great man !!!!

  • guss043

    What I can say, there is Annhar and there is all others …,there is a standard and principles and there is  what can be bought …. it is a loss for sure for a country like Lebanon, who’s very poor in producing leaders with calibers !!!!! God rest his soul ,great man !!!!

  • Prophettttt

    Ghassan Tueni, will be missed as a great journalist, an editor, a diplomat who served his nation like no other, and most importantly the great human being He was. His qualities were no accident, but rather the result of high humanistic qualities, high intentions, sincere efforts, great intelligence, and skillful hard work. His characteristics are those of great men who are full of vision, integrity, and courage. His qualities began on the inside, and always worked their way out.
    As Henry ford said : ” Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” This is exactly how GhassanTueni did it.

    I would like to share a story with everyone about Mr.Tueni. Though I had always been a great fan of Mr.Tueini,I had the great honor of meeting this man in a very unusual situation at an Arab airport ,where I was about to be held by authorities and have my pocket money confiscated for no reason other than refusing to be treated badly by a security official. Mr. Tueni, who at the time was head of the Lebanese mission at the UN, appeared out of nowhere, came forward, and defended my rights as a Lebanese, and as a human being. His diplomatic skills worked very well for my favor, where He asked me to apologies (for something I didn’t do) to the greedy, and “proud” officer, in order to defuse a situation where the “pride”of the officer is “honored”, and by bud saved. While flying on the same plan to Beirut, We talked for a while, and I remember him telling me “You’ve lived long enough in New York and you thought every Airport is JFK Airport.”
    Surely, He will be missed.

    • 5thDrawer

      Nice ‘share’ Prophettttt … backs up the history of a man who wanted the truth known … and we see in his history how tough it is to live in a place where people hate to hear it.
      And thanks to some idiots in this screwed-up world, the recognition of individual rights in airports has gone the way of the Dodo. You need to think like a prisoner from the moment you enter an airport, until you escape out the doors of wherever you’re going.
      Can’t even get a baby-bottle of water on board any more, let alone the bottle of scotch.
      But then, it was all caused by those who hate to give freedom a chance.

  • Prophettttt

    Ghassan Tueni, will be missed as a great journalist, an editor, a diplomat who served his nation like no other, and most importantly the great human being He was. His qualities were no accident, but rather the result of high humanistic qualities, high intentions, sincere efforts, great intelligence, and skillful hard work. His characteristics are those of great men who are full of vision, integrity, and courage. His qualities began on the inside, and always worked their way out.
    As Henry ford said : ” Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” This is exactly how GhassanTueni did it.

    I would like to share a story with everyone about Mr.Tueni. Though I had always been a great fan of Mr.Tueini,I had the great honor of meeting this man in a very unusual situation at an Arab airport ,where I was about to be held by authorities and have my pocket money confiscated for no reason other than refusing to be treated badly by a security official. Mr. Tueni, who at the time was head of the Lebanese mission at the UN, appeared out of nowhere, came forward, and defended my rights as a Lebanese, and as a human being. His diplomatic skills worked very well for my favor, where He asked me to apologies (for something I didn’t do) to the greedy, and “proud” officer, in order to defuse a situation where the “pride”of the officer is “honored”, and by bud saved. While flying on the same plan to Beirut, We talked for a while, and I remember him telling me “You’ve lived long enough in New York and you thought every Airport is JFK Airport.”
    Surely, He will be missed.

  • Prophettttt

    Ghassan Tueni, will be missed as a great journalist, an
    editor, a diplomat who served his nation like no other, and most importantly
    the great human being He was. His qualities were no accident, but rather the
    result of high humanistic qualities, high intentions, sincere efforts, great intelligence,
    and skillful hard work. His qualities and characteristics are those of great
    man who are full of vision, integrity, and courage. His Quality began on the inside,
    and always worked its way out.

    I would like to share a story with everyone about Mr.Tueni.
    Though I had always been a great fan of Mr.Tueini,I had the  great honor of meeting this man  in a very unusual situation at an Arab airport
    ,where I was about to be held by authorities and have my pocket money
    confiscated for no reason other than refusing to be treated badly by a  security official. Mr. Tueni, who at the time
    was head of the Lebanese mission at the UN, appeared out of nowhere, came forward,
    and defended my rights as a Lebanese, and as a human being. His diplomatic skills
    worked very well for my favor, where He asked me to apologies (for something I didn’t
    do) to the greedy, and “proud” officer, in order to defuse a situation where
    the “pride”of the officer is “honored”, and by bud saved. While flying on the
    same plan to Beirut, We talked for a while, and I remember him telling me “You’ve
    lived long enough in New York and you thought every Airport is JFK Airport.”

    Surely, He will be missed.

    • 5thDrawer

      Nice ‘share’ Prophettttt … backs up the history of a man who wanted the truth known … and we see in his history how tough it is to live in a place where people hate to hear it.
      And thanks to some idiots in this screwed-up world, the recognition of individual rights in airports has gone the way of the Dodo.
      Can’t even get a baby-bottle of water on board any more, let alone the bottle of scotch.

  • sometimes there are no words to describe and appreciate the greatness of one man.
    but i can truly and honestly say… If Lebanon had more men like Ghassan Tueni, the history of Lebanon would have been completely different, and Lebanon would have truly been the shinning country in the Middle East.
     

  • sometimes there are no words to describe and appreciate the greatness of one man.
    but i can truly and honestly say… If Lebanon had more men like Ghassan Tueni, the history of Lebanon would have been completely different, and Lebanon would have truly been the shinning country in the Middle East.